Monday, January 16, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday--The Apothecary, by Malie Meloy (and a SIGNED book Giveaway!!!)

For this week's MMGM I'm featuring another book that made a big splash in 2011 (and after reading it, I know why): THE APOTHECARY, by Malie Meloy.


Here's how the publisher describes it:

It's 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows - a fascinating boy who's not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin's father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary's sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies - Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Discovering and testing potions they never believed could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending disaster.

Together with Ian Schoenherr's breathtaking illustrations, this is a truly stunning package from cover to cover.


This is another one of those books where the ARC got buried in my TBR pile thanks to all my deadlines. But I heard so many incredible things about it that I finally had to dig it out and see if it lived up to the hype. And boy did it.

Not only is the writing strong and the story refreshingly different, but the book is FILLED with beautiful artwork that makes it even more special--though the story would still be amazing, even without the illustrations.

I'll confess, I'm not always a fan of Historicals--especially in middle grade where they can sometimes feel more like a thinly disguised history lesson than an entertaining plot. But THE APOTHECARY does it perfectly. We're thrown into a pivotal time in history--the McCarthy era--and we follow Janie as she struggles to adjust to life in London after her parents have had to flee the US because they've been suspected of being spies. She meets the charming and energetic Benjamin who's father seems to be just a humble apothecary--but who turns out to be so much more. Suddenly they find themselves being chased by Soviet spies and the Scotland Yard and discovering that there is a type of magic that exists in this world, where serums can force you to tell the truth and baths can make you invisible and special elixirs can turn you into birds. 

I loved every single word of the story and had to force myself to put it down--and only because of deadlines. And someday I hope to have time to read it again because there are so many layers and details, I want to go back and make sure I didn't miss any. Boy, girl, kid, grown-up, there is something for everyone in this book--and I highly recommend you give it a chance.

Which is, of course, why I'm giving away a copy--and this time I have a SIGNED hardcover, because I've been lucky enough to meet the author. To enter, make sure you leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm PST on Saturday, January 21st. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, January 22nd. International entries welcome.

For more awesome middle-grade recommendations, check out the other MMGM's floating around the blogosphere today:


- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!

- Joanne Fritz is raving about THE MIGHTY MISS MALONE. Click HERE to see her review.

- Jennifer Rumberger is championing TURTLE IN PARADISE. Click HERE to see why.

- Akossiwa Ketoglo is swept away by THE BOOK OF WONDERS. Click HERE to see what she loved.

- Deb Marshall sings the praises of ELIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR. Click HERE to read why she thinks you'll love it too.


- Karen Yingling has more fabulous non-fiction middle grade recommendations for you. Click HERE to see what they are.


- Barbara Watson is highlighting YOUNG FREDLE. Click HERE to learn more about it.

- Pam Torres is in love with UNDER THE WORLD. Click HERE to read her review.

- Natalie Aguirre is interviewing the lovely Caroline Star Rose and giving away a copy of MAY B. Click HERE for all the details.

- Gina Carey is gushing about GREGOR THE OVERLANDER. Click HERE to see why she loves it.


- Michael Gettel Gilmarten is the first stop on the PROMISE THE NIGHT. Click HERE to read an interview with the author.


- Susan Olson joins the MMGM crew with her first feature--on 11,000 YEARS LOST and YOUR MOTHER WAS A NEANDERTHAL. Click HERE to welcome her to the group.


And if you want to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog. It's easier if you email me before Monday, that way your link will be included in the post from the moment it goes live. But if you decide to spontaneously join the fun, I do update the post at several points throughout the Monday. Just email me a link and I'll add you when I do!



**Note: Thanks to a boatload of spam--and my missing a bunch of important emails because of it--I'm now using a new email address. So make sure you update your records because I'm slowly phasing the other address out. New email is: SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. Hopefully now I won't miss some of your MMGMs, like I have been.**

Happy Monday!

39 comments:

  1. Ohh, this seems like an awesome book :D I would love to win a signed copy of it. <3 Thank you for the chance :)
    Love, Carina

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  2. I'd love to get my hands on this one. Thanks, Shannon!!

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  3. Thanks for the giveaway, and the MMGM fun in general!

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  4. I've heard great things about this. I'd LOVE to win. Thanks for sharing your copy.

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  5. Yay for this giveaway!! And the book. Sounds like a good read.

    Also. I'd recommend trying Karen Cushman's mg historical novels and see what you think of them. If you haven't already, that is.

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  6. I have heard great things about this one! And I love that it has artwork. That is my new favorite thing in MG books :)

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  7. It looks beautiful! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  8. what a gorgeous cover! some of these themes seem very adult, and i'm curious how they play out. seems a little beyond harriet the spy!!

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  9. Thank you for the giveaway. I would love to read this book. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

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  10. I love well-done historical fiction . . . and the LA to London move sounds like it would be interesting.

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  11. I'm not sure what I love more, the title or the cover. Yummy! Thanks for sharing this one. Adding to my TBR list! (Of course, if I won a copy, it wouldn't be on my list long. lol)

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  12. That sounds really great. Oh and you left me off your MMGM list this week!

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  13. I love the sound of this story!

    Off to update my e-mail address book. Yikes!!

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  14. I would love to read this book. I think I do have it on my tbr list. Now all I need is win this copy :)

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  15. Historicals are my favorite and I haven't heard of this one yet. Thanks for the word.

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  16. Spies, London, and post-WW2 historical fiction (there's not enough)??? This is SO going on my TBR list. Count me in for the contest! :)

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  17. I'm down with pretty much anything that involves moving to London.

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  18. I would love to win this! I have been in the mood for a really good MG novel lately.

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  19. Shannon doesn't like MG Historicals? Ouch. Must destroy all my current manuscripts and start over. Lol, jk. ;)

    I've been meaning to read this one, so count me in.

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  20. I love books that take place in London. It is my favorite place on Earth.

    Findjessyhere at gmail dot com

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  21. London is one of my favorite cities. Paris also tops my list!

    GFC: Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

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  22. I've been dying to read this one. Would LOVE to win a copy.

    Have you seen the incredible trailer? The music reminds me of Harry Potter. Here's the site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH-BGOQMClk

    Thanks for the linkage, as always.

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  23. Sounds unique being in the past, but yet talking about nuclear weapons. I always think of them as more modern day. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  24. I would love to read THE APOTHECARY thank you. I'm looking forward to looking through the beautiful artwork, as well as reading the book.


    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  25. I haven't read this one yet, but it sounds really interesting! Thanks for the tip :)

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  26. Thanks for the information about this book--I can't wait to read it. And, in keeping with my financial goal for 2012, I'd love to win a copy!

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  27. Love the cover.

    GFC follower.

    lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  28. I'm not a fan of MG historicals either, but I've heard so many good things about this book--in both the book blogger and professional reviewer worlds. Thanks so much for the generosity, Shannon!

    I only just saw that your fantastical debut has a cover now. Freaking awesome--look! Your name is on that!

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  29. historical MG? why not give it a try? Would love to read it!

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  30. I have heard wonderful things about this book. It's been on my wish list since it came out. I have a girl in my class who will devour this book the moment it enters the door. Thank you for the giveaway.

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  31. Total AWESOME! Great review, Shannon, and thanks for another great prize opportunity! :-)

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  32. I hope this is how one enters for the book giveaway. I review books for kids and middle grade at http://kid-lit-reviews.com and for middle (older) and teens and http://www.twtebks.com Glad I found this site!

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  33. I've seen this book around and have been curious for a while. Thanks for putting it back on my radar (and for the giveaway)!

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  34. Another book on my wish list! I love this cover, it's so nicely done. I've also seen good things about it, which only makes me want to read it more :) Thank you for another excellent giveaway!

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  35. Great! My sister and my mom read this! I can't wait to!

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  36. Dude, how and when did I miss your cover reveal? It's adorbs! :) So glad you love it.

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  37. I've been wavering on this, but your review sold me.

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Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3